Parents protest against fee hike by Gurgaon schools
Fed up with the government’s lackadaisical approach towards the issue of fee hike, parents from several city schools decided to take out a protest rally to demand a rollback of the increase.
Parents from private schools, including Shalom Hills, Shri Ram Schools, DPS Sushant Lok, Ryan International, Pathways World School and Shiv Nadar, carried out a silent protest from HUDA City Centre to Galleria Market. More than 500 parents gathered at the HUDA City Centre with banners and posters. A few of the parents were also accompanied by their kids and grandparents.
According to the parents, they carried out the rally to stress the point that they were no longer going to silently accept such injustice. They also demanded that schools comply with CBSE norms. More transparency in the audit process, better focus on parents-teacher associations and safety of kids on campus were some of the other themes highlighted during the march.
“We are tired of the audacity of the schools and the apathy of the state governments. None of these schools follow the CBSE rules. The government officials have so far taken no action against the fee hike,” said Dharmender Ahluwalia, a parent from Amity International School.
The parents were surprised – and shocked-- at how the state government allowed some schools to go ahead with the fee hike, utterly disregarding a stay order by the Fee and Fund Regulatory Committee (FFRC). Issued on May 2, the stay prohibited any fee hike by schools until the final audit results were out. Furthermore, there is no clarity over the auditing procedure. The Committee has not initiated the audit process owing to ambiguity over its role.
“The schools are run on our fees, but they are not ready to speak to us. And, if they are not really making any profits, why can they not be transparent about their accounts. After a few schools disregarded the FFRC stay order, others schools started acting up as well,” says another protesting parent, Dipankar Ghosh.
Lack of a transparent communication system between the parents and schools is also a major source of concern, as it often comes in the way of ensuring safety of the schoolchildren. “One of our prime concerns is the safety and security of our kids. We have come to know of recent accidents in schools, but they have not changed their ways. Many schools are openly flouting safety norms,” says Pankhuri Sharma, a parent.
Almost 13,000 parents have joined a forum called Parents for Better Education on Facebook. It is exhorting more and more parents to stand up against the injustice. The forum has garnered a huge response.
The schools, in their defense, say they are charging a legitimate annual hike of 10-15 per cent, and this stand-off between the parents and schools would set a bad example for the kids.